01/26/2006 9:13 AM ET
Narron out to meet and greet fans
Manager looking forward to hearing direct feedback
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
CINCINNATI -- Reds manager Jerry Narron has already been hearing it from the fans.
Not that he minds this kind of feedback. What's the buzz like so far?
"The positive of [new owners] Bob Castellini and the Williams coming in and just the enthusiasm they have generated," Narron said Wednesday night while mingling at the annual LaSalle High School Sports Stag. "I think everybody expects good things just by having someone come in and set the standards high."
Narron is sure to hear plenty of direct feedback from fans over the next four days during his first experience on the Reds Winter Caravan tour. He was looking forward to it.
"We're here in January and going to create some interest in the Reds," Narron said. "If I was a fan in the area that had some Major League players and the manager, I'd be out there trying to see them and say, 'Hello.' I think it's outstanding."
Narron will be participating on all four days of the caravan. New starting pitcher Dave Williams and outfielder Chris Denorfia will be with him on the Thursday and Friday stops in Indianapolis and Lima and Columbus, Ohio.
The opening 5 p.m. stop at Pinhead's will be the first caravan visit in Indianapolis since 2001.
Williams, who was acquired from the Pirates for first baseman Sean Casey, wants to get to know his new teammates. He also appeared at the Wednesday stag event.
"I was hoping to meet some of the guys this weekend, even if it's just a handful of them," Williams said. "At least we can get the chemistry part started and try to gel a little bit. I got to meet the manager and I'm going down the line. You try to see who [likes] you, and who needs to get to know you a little more. I'm enjoying myself. It's a great situation for me and my family and I'm going to try to take advantage of it."
Reds pitcher Kent Mercker will join the group at Flannagan's in his native Dublin, Ohio, on Friday. Reliever Todd Coffey will be on hand for the caravan stop in Dayton while new Reds Hall of Fame member and former pitcher Tom Browning will be in Louisville, Ashland and Lexington, Ky. Outfielder Austin Kearns will take part in Lexington on Sunday.
Radio broadcasters Marty Brennaman and Steve Stewart, new Reds Hall of Famer Lee May and senior director of business operations Phil Castellini will be at all the stops
too. Fans will have a chance to ask everyone questions, get autographs and take photos with the Reds. All of the visits are free and open to the public.
Narron was promoted from bench coach to interim manager in June by former general manager Dan O'Brien and given the permanent job after the season and a one-year contract.
While Castellini dismissed O'Brien on Monday four days after assuming ownership, he endorsed Narron and said his job was safe.
"I took it as the new owner of a ballclub going to get his people in place," Narron said. "That goes for every position in this organization. I don't like to see anyone lose their job. If I come in as an owner, I'm going to get my people. That's what he's done. It's just part of baseball."
Like the fans he has been meeting and greeting, Narron also has his view of Castellini.
"I think he's no-nonsense, upfront and looking to make something happen here," Narron said. "I think he will."